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Terence Winch
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Thanks, Earle---another outstanding reading of the text.
Stacey: I'm pleased you liked it.
Thanks, Cindy. Glad you liked it.
Doug: glad you liked it.
Thank you, mo chara.
Thank you, Grace. What a nice comment.
Don: glad you liked it.
Thanks for the comment, Leslie.
_________________________________________________________________________ The Neighbors When a man and woman built their house on the hill behind mine, thus ruining forever the satisfaction I took in seeing no house but mine in any direction, I felt cheated and bitter. I live at the foot of the hill, I thought, and any time they wish, they can peer into my yard. But they were peerless people, most times quiet as the trees they had not cut, their voices murmurs in the wind, their jackets flashing colored wings among the branches. The woman gave birth to a son, who calls my name cycling down the road as though I were his long-lost friend. So I live at the foot of the hill, and any bitter man who would climb it, meaning my neighbors harm, must first get past me. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Garret Keizer is the author of The World Pushes Back (Texas Review Press), winner of the 2018 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, and of eight prose books including Getting Schooled, Privacy, and The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want. His poems have appeared in Harvard Review, The Hudson Review, Raritan, and The New Yorker. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine and Virginia Quarterly Review. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Best American Poetry
Wonderful poem. I wish I had known him.
I hope X did get with it.
Thanks, Earle, as always, for your insightful comment.
Cindy: thanks for not resisting. I love "oracle sex."
_________________________________________________________ Typecast I used to know the god Apollo. He taught me acting. I was terrible, but those old Greeks delight in transformations. His eyes glittered, sea-like, under Renaissance curls as he lifted a cigarette to his lips, told me: All actors should smoke; it’s the only way to do nothing and be completely fascinating. I hadn’t even gotten the hang of beer yet, but I was game. He liked to have me yell my monologues, would yell himself, egg me on: Louder, more, remember how pissed you are! When I let loose at an imagined jerk of a lover, Apollo smiled, his teeth little matched pearls between wine-stained lips. Really, I was a virgin at everything, from kissing to cards, but when Apollo is your teacher, you learn some things. I learned to stand in my tight-fitting, miserable human skin, and cast it off like a sales-rack coat, revealing glad rags beneath. And if they were a sham, so what? I had learned that everything is changeable, my looks and my loves and my squeamish heart. That’s when Apollo knocked my helmet off. Careful, he murmured, breath smoky against my ear, a cook can become a countess, but she’ll never burn a cake. Nothing changes completely. That’s where he left me, with my familiar doubt and newfound sneer, with the dwindling orange eye of the cigarette he’d hurled to the stage floor like a dart. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maureen Thorson is the author of three books of poetry: Share the Wealth (Veliz Books 2022), My Resignation (Shearsman 2014), and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011). Her book of lyric essays, On Dreams, was published with Bloof Books in 2023. Individual poems have appeared in Ploughshares, 32 Poems, and Calyx. [“Typecast,” from Share the Wealth (Veliz Books 2022), first appeared in Cherry Tree (# 5, 2019).] ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Charles Meynier (1768-1832), Apollo, God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and the Fine Arts with Urania, Muse of Astronomy, 1798, oil on canvas, Cleveland Museum of Art. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
Earle: Thanks for the radiant comment.
______________________________________________________ Radiance for Brian You will take care of me after radiation. I will appear to be perfectly fine and still make you cackle with my humor and wit. We will go see a Broadway show the next evening for the holidays and then we will enjoy a heavy dinner which will make me wish my appetite had been suppressed. I’ll make catty comments about the clientele. I will make you forget the bandages just came off that morning. My new fancy hat will conceal the wounds. I’ll let you complain about your friends and browse through Facebook to see who got married and who just had another baby. And the next day we’ll celebrate Christmas and gift each other with the latest Apple technology. We’ll go to my mom’s to be with my family before the two-hour drive to your sister’s in Connecticut. The memories of nails driven into my skull will dissipate in fear of a deer jumping out at us on the road. Speed limits will help gauge recovery time. When we arrive, Duke the dog will substitute for Alexis the cat and the love that healed breakups and violent attacks and surgery. There will be no time to think about headaches or nausea or tiredness. In fact, there will be no symptoms out of the ordinary other than an early night. You will perhaps be more exhausted emotionally than I am physically. We’ll come back to my apartment in time to put together a last-minute New Year’s Eve party much like I had originally hoped to have before the diagnosis. There will be family and close friends and lots of Fireball shots, of course. I will laugh at your imitations of the local hipsters and kiss you when the ball drops in Times Square. By then, my bruises will look like nothing more than chickenpox. We will have better sex than most healthy, younger couples. It’ll be like nothing ever happened except for the selfie I took while drugged up wearing a metal piece on my head. The two of us simply happy that we found each other after all these years. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Emanuel Xavier is the author of several poetry books including Pier Queen, Americano, If Jesus Were Gay, Nefarious, and Radiance. His latest collection is Love(ly) Child (Rebel Satori Press, 2023). He is recipient of a New York City Council Citation Award, an International Latino Book Award, and a Gay City Impact Award. His work has appeared in Poetry, A Gathering of the Tribes, and elsewhere. [Photo of Emanuel Xavier by Brian Berger, 2023.] ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Bigots are angry because ABC & CNN aired a gay kiss on New Year's Eve Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Earle. Your comments are brilliant little essays in themselves.
Wow. Another brilliant comment. Thanks, Earle.
Thanks, Earle. Wonderful comment.
________________________________________________ Poem Beginning in Loneliness Let’s start with the loneliness of beauty o human in this mottled world how deep and cold the standing stone and sweet the light warming its flank and all the earth breathing the stream snappy as lion cubs tangling with small guttural roars and swipes tumbling over rocks the moon a sow lolling on her side and the sun ____ beyond words blind one furnace who started all this and still I want I want _______________________________________________________________________________________ Marsha de la O’s new book, Creature, came out from Pitt Poetry Series in January 2024. Her previous book, Every Ravening Thing, also from Pitt, came out in 2019. Antidote for Night (BOA Editions) won the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award. Her first book, Black Hope, published by New Issues Press, was awarded the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College and has published extensively in journals and anthologies, including two recent poems in The New Yorker. In addition, her work was featured by Tracy K. Smith in The Slowdown. [Author photo by Trinity Wheeler.] _______________________________________________________________________________________ Illustration from a medieval German medical-astronomical compendium of healthy living. The book reflects the scientific view of the time that planetary configurations affect a person's well-being. Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
Stacey---Thanks for the comment. I agree completely.
Cindy---thanks for the comment.
_______________________________________________________ The Bodies The bodies lie along the shoulder of the road. The bodies lie in an ambulance, a truck bed, a stretcher. The bodies are strobed in flaring lights, color of fire, color of night. The bodies rest within the fuselage of a plane at 36,000 feet. The bodies contemplate silence as they wait in the morgue. The bodies are moved from room to room, one hour to the next. The bodies are bathed by strangers and by those who love them. They are numbered and recorded with signatures and stamps. They are forgotten by all save those who love them. They are left to the fields, to the green embrace of earth. They are given sunlight and storm, a shadow of wings descending. They are given to rivers, to fire, to ash on the wind-driven rain. They are carried on the shoulders of stone-faced men. They are serenaded with tears, with the instruments of suffering. They are eulogized in great halls and within the confines of loneliness. They are lowered into the ground and into the vaults of memory. They are disassembled and disbursed by the steady labor of time. They learn more about compassion as they are lifted in someone’s arms. They learn more about the sacred as voices call around them. They learn more about grieving as their eyes are sewn shut. The bodies are moved from room to room, one hour to the next. The bodies are numbered and recorded with signatures and stamps. The bodies are bathed by strangers and by those who love them. The bodies contemplate silence as they await the mortician, and they are forgotten by all save those who loved them. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Brian Turner has a memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country (with W.W. Norton in the U.S., and Penguin/Random House in the UK), and five collections of poetry, from Here, Bullet to The Dead Peasant’s Handbook (all with Alice James Books). He’s the editor of The Kiss and co-edited The Strangest of Theatres. He lives in Florida with his dog, Dene, the world’s sweetest golden retriever. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Timothy H. O'Sullivan’s On the Battlefield of Gettysburg, 1863 Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2024 at The Best American Poetry
Great to see this here. Michael's work always has such impact.
Don: Thanks for the comment.